There's a Christmas tree set up in the back of our church that has paper ornaments listing a gift for a needy person. The idea is to take an ornament, buy the gift listed, wrap the gift and tape the paper ornament onto the gift box. The church will then bring the gift to the person's house for Christmas. Every house in our community will get a visit from Santa one way or the other.
Most of the gifts are for small children, and the paper ornaments filled out by mothers or grandmothers. Most of the gift requests were very basic: a new jacket, a pair of pants, some new shirts, some toys for a toddler, etc.
Nobody asked for a Wii, a PS3 or an iPhone... most people just asked for the necessities.
One ornament listed a bike. We liked that one, but someone else cut in line and snatched it right from under us. I elbowed the person in the ribs while pretending to be doing the sign of the cross. I'll say a few Hail Mary's later tonight as penance, but believe me when I say that the guy deserved it.
While searching for another ornament, Betty and I both came across one in particular left an impression on us. It was for a single pair of navy socks.
I can't tell you how sad I was at that moment. I thought back to all of the Christmases with my family, and about how much fun they all have been. I also thought about how much I've taken all those Christmas days and Christmas gifts for granted. To think that there are people out there who can't afford socks is just the saddest thing in the world.
We couldn't take the ornament for the socks. It made me too sad.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm a spoiled brat. And I'm privileged to be able to spoil my daughter. But this holiday season, my real Christmas wish is that one of your or my donations to the Toys for Tots bin, or a few bucks to a local charity, or an anonymous gift through your/our church or school will eventually make its way back to the kid whose parents just want him to have socks.
Hacker, Hack Thyself
2 months ago